April 11 - May 20, 2001
It goes without saying that physiological changes and disorders often affect our mental and emotional state. Through observation, research and material manipulation I find myself compelled to relate the phenomena of sleep and vision and how profoundly any alteration to their normalcy can affect our daily lives. These human conditions, the "trials and tribulations" of both of these basic requirements of life are not without their similarities and differences but the focus of my work has been on the physicality of the eyes themselves, whether they be open or closed.
Even though death, the departure from the world as we know it in Western Society seems to be a bleak and dismal ending, we seldom question the desire or overwhelming submission to death's mythological and mysterious twin - sleep. The affinity that sleep has with death, the traditional and contemporary associations and ceremonies of both "shut-eyed" states are concepts that I have dealt with in my work. I am compelled to question our naive surrender to this unconscious state of mind and body with ifs many routines, disorders and anxieties.
I have used the bed not just as a place we choose to commit ourselves to for approximately 1/3 of our lives but also as a significant chamber, vessel or shrine-like place of offering to the night. My mixed media assemblages consist of photographic images, hand mode paper, wire mesh, reed and metal. I believe these materials lend themselves to be layered, overlapped, interlaced and constructed to personify the enigma of sleep and what possibly occurs during this time (dreams, night terrors. movement etc.).
ennist 5 This focus on the eyes in a closed position has gradually led me to investigate the faculty of sight with the eyes wide open. I am interested in both the ability to perceive what is there (seeing) and the ability to get meaning from what is there (vision). The ability to see is a fundamental capacity that we often take for granted, not noticing or realizing that which is before us until perhaps it is too late. Perception, sight, insight, vision are words that conjure up images of places, experiences, people and emotions. They also inspire the textural, layered constructions of the "20/20" series.
Tony Massett, Curator